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About the Collection
The Lynd Ward Collection of Wood Engravings and Other Graphic Art includes ca. 5,000 wood engravings, proof sheets, wood-engraving blocks, and original illustrations for many of Ward’s books, as well as some prints not associated with his published work. There are also lithographs and charcoal drawings.
Highlights include many of the wood blocks and proof sheets for Ward’s illustrations to Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley’s Frankenstein, or The Modern Prometheus (1934). Also of particular interest are two unique items, including the original mock-up or “dummy” of 117 wood engravings on proof tissue for Ward’s most influential novel without words, Madman’s Drum, as well as a presentation portfolio, which he either sent or personally presented to potential clients. It is a complete package in a self-created binding of cloth over batik covers, containing 22 original prints (etchings, lithographs, woodcuts, and wood engravings). This visually powerful portfolio provides a rare opportunity for scholarly insight into the artist’s work.
While Lynd Ward’s most extensive and well-known achievements were in the printmaking technique of wood engraving, his unique talents as an illustrator also extended into the realm of children’s books. Highlights in the collection include original illustrations for both The Silver Pony and The Biggest Bear. The Biggest Bear (Houghton Mifflin, 1952), which Ward wrote and illustrated, tells the story of Johnny Orchard and the bear cub who comes to love him. For this book Ward received the 1953 Randolph Caldecott Medal, given to the artist of the most distinguished American picture book for children by the American Library Association.